Joseph and Bernadette
After tragically losing his sister, grief made Joseph lose touch with his family.
Joseph lived in his hometown of Paisley, Scotland, two doors away from his sister. Tragically his sister was killed in a house fire and after the funeral Joseph found the daily walk past the site of her death too much to cope with. He packed his bags and travelled to the other end of the UK where he set up home in Devon.
Initially he was still in contact with his daughter Bernadette but they lost contact when they both moved house around the same time.
During the next twenty years, Joseph remarried and had another daughter, now aged 13, who grew up knowing that she had an older sister somewhere. Joseph never gave up trying to find Bernadette, travelling up to Scotland more than ten times to look for her. He felt he had tried everything until he came across The Salvation Army’s Family Tracing Service on the internet and gave them a call. Their team of experts soon got to work and within a couple of months Joseph received a call to say that they had found his daughter and gave him his grandson’s telephone number.
Shortly afterwards Joseph and Bernadette spoke on the phone and within months Joseph made the trip to Scotland yet again, but this time in the knowledge that he would see his daughter for the first time in 20 years. They were both over the moon to be in contact again and enjoyed learning about each other’s lives and now much bigger families.
Bernadette is looking forward to meeting the 13-year-old half-sister she didn’t know she had and Joseph has loved getting to know a 17-year-old granddaughter and four great grandchildren born after he left Scotland.
Joseph’s health has not been good in the past few years. He has suffered several heart attacks and so time is precious to him. However, he feels like a hole in his heart has been mended by being reunited with Bernadette and is delighting in getting reacquainted with his old life.
The tragedy of his sister’s death and the loss of contact with his daughter caused him to harden his heart a little and keep people at a distance since arriving in Devon. In the past few weeks he has felt more like his old self and is absolutely delighted to be approaching Christmas with his extended family this year.